A new study indicates that women in senior living are more likely to have a sedentary lifestyle than people of any other age group or gender. According to Reuters, the research was headed by specialists in the Harvard School of Public Health, and found that older women spend an average of two-thirds of their day seated or lying down. The long-term effects of such a lifestyle can be detrimental to an individual's overall health.
Older women sedentary, but take breaks
In their study, the Harvard researchers compiled a sample group of about 7,200 participants, all of whom were older women of an average age of 70. For a week, the women wore devices that monitored their daily mobility. Data drawn from the accelerometers' measurements indicated that, although women were sedentary for the majority of their total waking hours, they did tend to break up their time sitting still with regular periods of standing or walking. Eric Shiroma, the head researcher, said this revelation was not what the scientists had expected.
"Most of us had thought that people were sitting a lot longer, and maybe people who are sitting a lot longer are at greater risk, but we're going to have to wait and see," Shiroma said. "We don't necessarily know where the threshold is for, how long is sitting too long?"
Sedentary lifestyle dangerous to health
In analyzing the findings of his study, Shiroma suggested that further research was required to make a definitive link between physical inactivity and a rising frequency of certain disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has highlighted some trends of sedentary behavior as they relate to age and potential side effects. According to the source, people tend to become more inactive as they get older, often due to physical ailments like joint pain or arthritis, which may complicate mobility. People who are overweight or obese also typically have a more difficult time staying active. When individuals live a primarily sedentary lifestyle, they may be putting themselves at a higher risk of certain conditions and diseases. Such risks include high blood pressure, anxiety and some types of cancer. According to the source, heart disease was less common among people who were active, even considering factors such as diet, alcohol consumption and smoking.